CxO Insight

FutureNet Asia, Airtel Speaker Interview

Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Airtel, is speaking on the Panel: The Network of the Future and the Future Telco, on the 27th October. We recently caught up with Randeep to get his thoughts on The Network of the Future and the Future Telco.

What will tomorrow’s customers look like?

Fast-paced digitization in customer lifestyles is revolutionising the way a telecom provider is perceived by the end customer. For the customer of tomorrow, ‘unlimited & ubiquitous connectivity’ would become even more critical as users would engage with their homes, business, work & learning more & more through telecom services. Maneuvering through the entire day would mean maximum tasks being done through the smartphone / IOT devices – be it using the e-wallet, entertainment, engaging with AI powered home solutions, education, healthcare, or work.

Customers would expect a simple and converged service provider which can take care of all of their digital lifecycle requirements. They would expect service providers to stitch journeys across different access networks and on different engagement channels (on-line or offline)

How must the network evolve to meet their needs?

Service providers would need to build converged networks that can be orchestrated through software APIs. Virtualization of the network is key to configure the network as per customer’s requirement and applications based on time of the day & their geographical locations.  With IoT devices increasingly interacting with the network, network security would be very critical to ensure secure & un-uninterrupted services to the consumers.

Sufficiently faster, secure, agile & efficient network solutions would be key pillars to provide the kind of customer experience and services that the customer of tomorrow is expecting from a telecom operator. Telcos must look at taking the lead in building the partner ecosystem which will enable all these current and new-age services.


Which business and operations models do you think are most likely to succeed?

Customer centricity is the guiding principle for any successful business. How comprehensively are we able to listen to the end customer and efficiently translating those needs into products and services would be key drivers of success in the market.

Collaboration amongst service providers, application & cloud partners would become a very important success factor to offer digital services to consumers in both retail & enterprise segments.  Ecosystem partners need to leverage each others’ strengths and stitch business processes among themselves for users to get a seamless experience. APIs from telecom networks would enable network exposure & configuration as per the need of the application provider or user’s preferences.


How do you think the relationship between hyperscalers and operators will play out?

Telco networks are getting virtualized day by day going down up to the access network. We have gone through the experience in virtualization of our network from radio to core domain. Network virtualization will further accelerate with the building of ORAN ecosystem & the launch of 5G networks.

This provides an opportunity for operators & hyperscalers to work together for building virtualized telco networks that are scalable, resilient & lower TCO. Automation & AI/ML-based analytics for the virtualized network is very critical for deployment & managing lifecycle of these networks. Experience of the hyperscalers in building scalable cloud networks with end-to-end automation at a lower cost of ownership would be of value to the telcos.

To hear more insight from Randeep, join the event and register here